Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wildcats destroy Huskies 44-14 down in Tucson
The #15 Arizona Wildcats(6-1,3-1) got some revenge on the Washington Huskies(3-4,2-2) destroying them 44-14. The Wildcats shut down the Huskies offense shutting them out in the second half. The Wildcats were without their starting quarterback Nick Foles but it didn't matter as Matt Scott sliced the Huskies up completing over 80% of his passes. Yes this is a game where the Huskies yet again must go back to the drawing board and figure out what wrong.
The Huskies after forcing a turnover looked great on their first possession. The Huskies began the game with a run to Chris Polk for a gain of five. Then Polk ran to the left breaking a tackle for a gain of 18. After Polk had sliced up Arizona, the Huskies decided to pass where Jake Locker found a wide open Jermaine Kearse for a gain of eight yards. Then on 2nd and 2 Locker faked the run to Polk, rolled out and found an open Kearse and threw a beautiful pass for a 31 yard touchdown pass. That made Jake Locker the third Husky ever to throw for 50 touchdown passes. For Kearse that was his 10th receiving touchdown of the season. Then it was all downhill for the Huskies after that.
The Wildcats pretty much did whatever they wanted to do against this Huskies offense. If they wanted to pass they could as quarterback Matt Scott was 18 of 22(81.8%) passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns. If Arizona wanted to run they could do that too. Running backs Keola Antolin and Nic Grigsby pounded the Huskies along with quarterback Scott. Antolin ran for 114 yards on just 14 carries for two touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Grigsby added 50 yards on 12 carries and also had two touchdowns while averaging 4.2 YPC. The quarterback Scott filling in for Foles ran for 65 yards on seven carries while averaging 9.3 YPC. Overall the Wildcats did whatever they wanted to the Huskies.
Arizona tied the game in the first quarter on a similar play that Locker did to Kearse. Scott rolled out then found an open David Roberts for a 17 yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats took the lead on a Alex Zendejas 29 yard field goal. Mike Stoops decided to instead of going for it on fourth and one to kick the field goal to go up 10-7. The Huskies continued to do nothing on offense as they decided to not run Chris Polk enough and keep Locker in the pocket. After punting and pinning the Wildcats on their on eight yard line the Wild Cats then marched down the field. The Wildcats would cap that drive with a Antolin one yard touchdown run giving the Wildcats 17-7 lead.
The Huskies appeared on this drive to making this a game again. Locker would hit D'Andre Goodwin on three straight passes to set up Chris Polk for a six yard touchdown run right up the middle to cut the lead to 17-14. The Huskies had fought back and made this a game again. Then just 11 seconds later the Huskies defense would allow Antolin to bust a touchdown run up the middle for a 78 yard touchdown. Then Grigsby would add a four yard touchdown run but the PAT was blocked by Mason Foster. Arizona led 30-14 going into halftime.
In the second half the Huskies offense continued to do nothing and the defense continued to not stopping Arizona. Grigsby would score another four yard rushing touchdown giving the Wild Cats a 37-14 lead. The Huskies last chance at making this a game was blown when Jake Locker would over throw a wide open Goodwin for a touchdown. The Huskies then self destructed and turned the ball over on downs. The Wildcats would finally punt for the first time all game with four minutes to go in the third.
In the fourth quarter Scott would find Juron Criner for a 21 yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 44-14 lead. This game got to be so ugly that Keith Price played the whole fourth quarter in relief of Jake Locker. Locker was 17 of 29 passing(58.6%) for 183 yards and just one touchdown. He would also have negative 24 yards rushing on the day from all the sacks he had. He was sacked four times on the day. The Huskies after that first drive just couldn't move the ball at all. The running game again appeared to be effective but not used enough. Chris Polk had 65 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries(4.6) and his backup Jesse Callier who was used in some "wildcat" formations ran 36 times on 8 carries(4.5). I feel the Huskies should feature the run more and the pass second if they want to win more ball games.
At the end of the day this is a huge setback for the Huskies program. This isn't the end of the world by any means but losing by 30 to a middle of the conference team with their backup quarterback isn't the kind of play you'd expect. This team is featuring a first round pick at the most important position on the field there is no excuse for the offense to be this lousy. This is now four games where the offense performed their capabilities. The Huskies will have to regroup as they face off with Stanford. Steve Sarkisian needs to find a way to get his team to play on a consistent level. The Huskies are now 3-4 the chances of making a bowl game take yet another hit. Here is hoping the Huskies continue to the trend of bouncing back after a loss.
- I know Locker was banged up but they have been saying this every week now. I don't get why Sarkisian is so stubborn on Locker. When the Huskies decide to roll Locker out of the pocket they are so successful like in the USC and Oregon State games. The games where Sarkisian is dead set on making Jake a pocket passer like against BYU, ASU and now today against Arizona the Huskies lose. The offense looks terrible in the process, Jake is a great athlete let him be that athlete like how Auburn uses to Cameron Newton. Jake as a pocket quarterback isn't effective plus the offensive line isn't very good.
- Senio Kelemente should be stripped of his captain duties. First of all Kelemente was getting destroyed all game long. Then on one series when the Huskies were down 30 points he not only gets a holding penalty but then gets a personal foul late hit after the whistle. You want your captains to set the tone for the rest of the team and mainly the younger players. The example he set was that of a player who is a loser and has been on a losing program. Instead of getting frustrated and getting dumb penalties just kick the crap out of the guy in between the whistles.
- The Huskies in their losses this year have scored 17 points(0 2nd half), 21 points(7 2nd half), 14 points(7 2nd half) and now 14 points(0 2nd half). The defense is a work in progress and other than Mason Foster it is hard to find any NFL talent in that group. The offense on the other hand was supposed to be a strength going into the year. At times this year the offense appears to have progressed with Locker throwing for now 14 touchdown passes. The offense is just inconsistent. In fact this offense doesn't have an identity. Sarkisian appears to be like former offensive coordinator Tim Lappano in 2007 who didn't know what to run. During that year the Huskies would run an I-formation play then run a spread play. Last year the Huskies ran the pro style offense that Sark ran while at USC. This year he started off with the pro style offense, changed to some spread with the fly sweep to Callier(which I love please more of those) to now it appears the Huskies are running this new Pistol offense. I wish the Huskies would focus on offense and get really good at that instead of being average at every type of offense. Jake Locker, Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse will all be playing on Sunday's for years to come and yet the offense has been shut down in four games already.
- I don't know why Chris Polk doesn't get more carries. He runs hard and is fast. He averages over five yards a carry on the year and runs over defenders. He is the type of back most coordinators throughout the nation would give him 25+ carries a game instead he has had 25 carries just once and that game went double overtime. I understand keeping him fresh but Polk constantly getting under 20 carries is starting to become extremely frustrating. When you run the ball to Polk you win games, when you have Jake roll out you win games. Sarkisian has coached Locker for 19 games now and still insists on giving Polk less than 20 carries is just insane.
- The Huskies defense allowed almost 500 yards and for the second time this year has allowed over 40 points. In fact in Don James 18 years of coaching the Huskies his teams allowed over 40 points just six times and I'm counting a game from his first season as coach. Nick Holt the highest paid defensive coordinator in the Pac-10 has already seen his Huskies allow 40+ four times already. Which actually is a huge improvement from the previous two years (2007-08) when the Huskies allowed over 40 points 10 times. This group of seniors have allowed over 40 points 14 times in just 44 games. While Don James allowed over 40 points just six games in 18 years of coaching. The defense still has a long ways to go and unfortunately Mason Foster is a senior.
- This is the second time I've seen the Huskies flat out quit. The Huskies to their credit and Sarkisian's credit last year I didn't see them quit. They got blown out a few times but never quit. I don't know why any college athlete would quit first of all and second I don't get why after not doing it once last year they have already done it twice this year. I'm not even counting the Arizona State game where the team acted like they didn't even want to be there. I'm also sick of stupid penalties like when our fifth year senior has two delay of game penalties that tells me this team doesn't have any discipline.
All in all you win with recruiting and getting better athletes. Having said that, that alone won't do the job. These kids on this roster who we rag on every week we were praising just four years or three years ago. If you look back at the recruiting rankings sure UW isn't at the top but they aren't at the bottom either. The Huskies need to do a better job of developing their players. This is Sarkisians second season and for the most part I believe the program is going in the right direction. Unfortunately for the Huskies they are losing Locker, Foster and a good chance both Kearse and Polk leave early. If your team can't go to a bowl game with those guys how can they without those guys? Sarkisian needs to find a way to keep this team motivated on a week to week basis or else come christmas time the Huskies for the eighth year in a row will be watching the bowl games instead of participating in them. The Huskies must win three of their final five games which includes three on the road to be bowl eligible.